Paul's Words if Taken as Inspired Destroy Old and New Testament's Validity
People claim if we disputed Paul's words as truly inspired then this unravels the NT. However, the opposite is true. Instead, if one insists Paul is an apostle (he was not except by his own claim), and you insist Paul is inspired, Paul unravels the validity of all of Scripture - from Moses to the Apostles of Jesus.
This is indirectly proven from a work of 1740 by Thomas Morgan entitled Moral Philosopher: in a Dialogue with Philelthes, a Christian deist and Theophanes, a Christian Jew.
Morgan claimed Paul as his hero whom Morgan contended favored natural religion in place of the one found in the Hebrew Bible.
Using Paul alone, Morgan convincingly tore inspiration away from all Scripture by effectively using his opponents' assumption that Paul was an apostle and inspired. (This confirms my point how dangeous it is to teach Paul is inspired.) Morgan cleverly argued, as quoted in detail in the next section below:
- Since Paul said the Law given Moses was blinding, enslaving, killing, etc., then no one can believe it came from God. (Morgan also borrows Paul's statement in Galatians that the angels gave the Law, and Morgan took it one step further == Morgan insisted Yahweh/Jehovah is an angel, and the Israelites mistakenly thought an angel was God); and
- Paul conflicted with the 12 apostles on: (a) the Law's validity when Paul claimed an anti-Law revelation from God but somehow this revelation by-passed the 12; (b) on who was the Apostle to the Gentiles -- Peter or Paul because Peter in Acts 15 says he is the Apostle to the Gentiles but Paul claimed to the contrary he was the apostle to the Gentiles; and (c) Peter's eating practices with Gentiles; etc. Morgan concluded this meant the other apostles could not enjoy constant infallibility as they conflicted with Paul, and hence there was no infallibility to anything the 12 recorded as coming from Jesus. Which means to Morgan that only Paul had validity, and Paul debased everything the 12 said as uninspired including any quotes they attributed to Jesus.
All of these arguments are valid if one assumes Paul is inspired. (I do not.) But the opponent whom Morgan was fighting never thought to affirm none of these proofs are valid if Paul is not inspired. Thus, if we deny Paul inspiration, the Law given Moses remains good and valid per Jesus in Matt. 5:17-19. Paul's contrary view would be falsified by Jesus.
Moreover, then Peter's claim in Acts 15 which says the "Holy Spirit" showed them that Peter was the Apostle to the Gentiles (not Paul who was listening to this speech) remains unassailable, contrary to Paul's claim of his own superior mission to the Gentiles. We would deduce that Paul was grandstanding with self-promotion.
And finally, we would realize Peter's eating practices were dictated by politeness as Jesus repeatedly emphasized Christians not to eat meat sacrificed to idols in Revelation chs. 2 and 3. The best way to do this was not to eat with Gentiles who did not follow such a prohibition. Otherwise, you would have to ask about all the foods on the table. So it was Paul who had the problem by teaching it was ok to eat such meat (and freely eating with Gentiles who did not adhere to avoiding foods sacrificed to idols).
Hence, all of Morgan's arguments could be dispelled by his opponent affirming Paul was uninspired.
This proves that disputing Paul's validity does not cause any lessening of trust in Jesus's words. Instead, it enhances the credibility of both the OT and NT other than Paul.
Here is a synopsis of Morgan's book from 1740 which made this very clever argument, exploiting the standard assumption that Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ who spoke with constant infallibility -- an assumption without any confirmation in the NT -- in order to destroy the validity of both the entire Original Testament and the Jesus' portion of the New Testament.
Believer in Natural Religion Cites Paul As First Advocate of Natural Religion
Thomas Morgan in his The Moral Philosopher (1740) was a defender of natural religion. Congruent with his own view, he claimed Paul taught a natural religion, rejecting a religion based upon Moses. Id., at 194. Paul intended to dispense with the written and ceremonial Law, while retaining the inward principles of action which he calls the Law of Faith or the Law of Christ. Id., at 266.
Morgan then claims Paul was the first to realize natural religion was truth, and not the Law given Moses:
"But when the light of the gospel had discovered more clearly the nature of true religion, and the inward spiritual worship of God could accept and reward, St. Paul was now and thoroughly convinced that there could be nothing of religion or divine authority, in that blinding, enslaving and carnal Constitution [i.e., the Law of Moses] which they had received and submitted to as the true worship of God." Id., at 251.
"St. Paul declared against, and endeavoured to reform. It was the religious obligation of that Law in point of conscience and divine Worship, and in this sense he declares it not to be binding, either to Jew or Gentile." Id., at 251.
Morgan then uses Paul's own words to prove the Law given Moses was uninspired at least in the part Paul criticizes - thus supporting Morgan's religion of nature:
"But Paul never speaks of this Law of Ordinances as holy, just and good, but the quite contrary: And if this Law, which made a Principal part of Moses, was in its own nature and tendency, as the apostle represents it, blinding, enslaving, carnal, and killing, I am sure it could not be the Law of God." Id., at 266-267.
If one thinks Morgan is exaggerating, then why did Luther say the same thing, saying Paul proved Moses and the Prophets all had mistaken revelation from an angel that was inferior to the glorious gospel Paul found from the true God? If you are in doubt, read our webpage on Luther's view of Canon at this link.
Paul's Contradiction of Jesus and Other Apostles Proves Dispute Among "Apostles Invalidates Any Infallibility of Apostles"
According to one of the twelve apostles (i.e., Matthew in 5:17-19, 15:6), Jesus insisted He was a conformist to the Law, and only wanted to throw off the extra-legal traditions that had been added. Id., at 195.
Morgan used this contradiction between Paul and Jesus/the 12 to prove there is no infallible truth in the Bible from "all" apostles. Morgan never considered whether Paul was truly an apostle, but instead reveled in that his opponent (to whom he responded) admitted Paul was an apostle. See page 134.
By assuming Paul was an apostle and thus had equal right to claim inspiration, Morgan was able to destroy all of the apostolic gospels of the NT: "I have showed that the Apostles were so far from infallible, or under any unerring guidance, in everything they believed and taught, that they were greatly divided among themselves on the continued authority of the Law." Id., at 244.
"The Apostles of the Circumcision, of whom Peter was the chief, made a schism against St. Paul, and separated from him with all their adherents, as granting too much liberty to the Gentiles, and taking an illegal liberty of eating and drinking, and familiarly conversing with them, while they were yet in their heathen state; and they charged him with preaching a new and strange gospel regarding the abrogation of the Law, and the equality of Jews and Gentiles in the Christ's kingdom, independent of the Law." Id., at 244.
"St. Paul on the other hand stood to his own gospel, or to the Doctrine of Christ, as he preached it, against the Judaizers. He insists upon it, that he had his gospel by Revelation, and had been made the Apostle to the Gentiles without ever concerting anything with them, or advising with them." Id., at 245.
"And St. Paul claims and challenges to himself the Apostleship to the Gentiles, against Peter, and all the other Apostles of the Circumcision, who had no such authority. This was the plain state of the Case in Fact. Now, here, surely could not be Infallibility, or any unerring Guidance on both sides; and yet all wrought Miracles, and all equally had the Holy Ghost. Miracles, therefore, and Inspiration, did not prove infallibility, and unerring guidance in those days." Id., at 245.
Morgan later again argues that the conflict among Peter and Paul proves one or the other is wrong, and thus there is no 'apostolic infallibility' -- Morgan gladly assuming Paul is a true apostle:
"I have proved that if the Apostles made any such claim [to infallibility], their differences and divisions among themselves, both in doctrine and practice, must have confuted and convicted them. Peter and Paul with respect to Jews and Gentiles preached two different Gospels, and separated at Antioch because they could not agree about the Authority and extent of the Jerusalem Council, and therefore they could not continue together, or minister in the same churches." Id., at 325.
"The Apostles and Teachers of Circumcision all along thought themselves to be under the obligation of the whole Law, even as a matter of religion, and good conscience towards God, which St. Paul vehemently declared against." Id., at 325. See also 330.
"If this author understands Paul right, he must have been one of the most inconsistent, self-contradictory writers in the world. He must have maintained that the ritual Law, or Law of ordinances, was a carnal worldly binding, and enslaving Constitution, and state of things, in its own nature and tendency, that in itself, according to the Letter, or in its literal sense, it was dead, unprofitable and never true, nor good; that it had always kept those who were under it in a wretched state of darkness and bondage, subject to the devil, and their own lusts; and under this miserable vassalage, it could afford them no help. And yet at the same time, according to our learned Author, St. Paul must have maintained that this Constitution was immediately instituted and ordained by God Himself, under the sanction of Divine Authority for very wise and good ends. This is the gross absurdity and contradiction which he put upon that great apostle...." Id., at 252-53.
Morgan continues, saying that if Paul received the news that the law was abolished, then why did not the "other" apostles? Morgan argues:
"But if God by any express testimony or declaration to St. Paul had revoked or repealed this part of the Law, as having been of divine Institution, it is wonderful that the apostles and teachers of the Circumcision should know nothing of it...and should not have had the same revelation." Id., at 254.
"This abrogation of the ceremonial Law, or the Law relating to the Mosaic priesthood and Sacrifices, remained a secret to the Apostles and teachers to the Circumcision, at least thirty years..." Id., at 255.
Morgan's work perfectly demonstrates the invalidation that Paul presents of OT and NT scripture from the Apostles (i.e., Matthew and John) if one assumes Paul is inspired.
Most of the time this is resolved by means of the "dispensational" or "covenant theology" rubrics. This says the OT and all of Jesus's statements in the Gospels that are based on the OT are only applicable to a prior dispensation. Only Paul's message supposedly applies in the NT. So rather than reject Paul and maintain the validity of the OT and NT except Paul, they insist Paul is 100% correct, and no one else is important to consider. This way Morgan's argument is bypassed by giving Paul a superiority over everyone else's voice in the NT, including the messages "in the flesh" of the Lord Jesus. This is a deplorable solution, as it gets rid of everything Yahweh taught Israel and all Jesus's teachings so as to hold onto Paul. What Morgan also proved is that the 12 were following the law after Jesus' Ascension and Paul wasn't. So the ongoing division is what proves one or the other was true. Both could not be telling the same truth. Morgan therefore concluded that all the 12 are false, and so is the original testament as well.
Thus, we see then that from the true deductions that Morgan made, the presence of Paul as an infallible figure actually nullified both the Original Testament and the New Testament other than Paul. So the following is the choice: will we reject the Gospel of Jesus to accept Paul's Gospel, or accept Paul's Gospel alone even though Paul never quotes Jesus' delivering this different gospel?
Miscellany in Morgan's Work
Morgan attacks the tithing system as overly enriching the Levites. See 286.
He says Paul's argument that Christians were the "seed" spoken about in the promise to Abraham had to be a "very obscure" means of God's message appearing, and thus Paul's reading appeared weak. Id., at 261.
Morgan endeavors to prove the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written by Paul as it says the writer labored among the Hebrews in Jerusalem which Paul never did. Id., at 262.
Similar to Paul's teaching that the Law came from angels, Morgan says Jews confounded their guardian angel with the supreme being, and came wrongly to worship the supposed angel Jehovah as God. Id., at 216 and 314.
"The copy of which St. Paul made use for the settling the time of Judges, the reign of Samuel and Saul, and the whole period from Exodus, differed widely from any copies now in being." Id., at 246.
"St. Paul then, it seems, preach'd another and quite different Gospel from what was preach'd by Peter and the other Apostles."
Morgan argues that Moses's slaying of the Midianites was not approved by God, and exposes why God punished Moses. See Id., at 334.
Morgan claimed that there is no instance in the Law that a sacrifice ever remitted the penalty for an offence, and thus we have misunderstood that atonement excuses obedience. See id., at 331.
Morgan provided a topical index. See this link.